Letters for August 30, 2007

Will Pharma patent pot?

Re “The Pot Issue” (SN&R Feature Story, August 23):

I appreciate your issue devoted to medical marijuana, especially the information about how much revenue marijuana could generate for the government if it were legalized and taxed.

However, I would liked to have seen information about the effects of medical marijuana on the pharmaceutical industry. If a patient can ease their pain for the cost of a few joints, why would they need to buy prescription pain pills?

M. Conens

Watch the windows!

Re “Chronic town” (SN&R Feature Story, August 23):

I am curious how you came up with the evidence for your map. Living in one of the “green” areas, would you recommend I keep my window blinds shut?

via e-mail

The Weedwhacker replies: Honey, we suggest you keep your window blinds shut in every neighborhood!

Happy for hemp

Re “Hope for hemp?” by Sena Christian (SN&R Green Days, August 23):

Thanks for the informative article. I’ve been pro-hemp for awhile, but I didn’t know just how useful it is potentially.

Barbara Dickens
via e-mail

If they don’t buy bottled water, they’ll buy pot … er, pop

Re “Waste not, thirst not” by Sena Christian (SN&R Plug’d In, August 23):

We agree with Sena Christian that there is a critical need for a safe and reliable drinking water in many parts of the world. It is unlikely, however, [that] the dollars consumers spend on bottled water in the United States will go instead to international water projects if they choose not to buy bottled water.

Accessibility to safe, clean water is a societal issue that needs leadership by governments and development organizations, with companies like Nestlé playing a supporting role. As a company that works with communities across the world, we at Nestlé take our responsibility seriously. A report on our views and work regarding global water issues can be found online.

Drinking tap or bottled water is not an either/or choice—research shows that 75 percent of people in the United States drink both. Bottled water helps people live a healthy lifestyle and provides a water alternative when tap water is not readily available. If bottled water is not available, research shows people drink more sweetened beverages, which worsens obesity and other health problems.

Our water bottles are 100 percent recyclable. The reality is that water bottles account for less than one-third of one percent of all U.S. municipal waste. That said, we agree that most municipal recycling programs apply 1970s solutions to a 2007 problem. Nestlé Waters North America advocates progressive new recycling programs that would capture all plastic food and beverage containers, whether they contain ketchup, peanut butter, or water, and make it easier for people across the United States to do so.

Jane Lazgin
director, corporate communications
Nestlé Waters North America

What will you give up for local food?

Re “Eat me” by Kate Washington (SN&R Feature Story, August 16):

As soon as I saw the phrase “over-globalized economy,” I knew this article would be a form of a rant. She wants fresher food than that what is flown in from the southern hemisphere, because 500-odd mph is not fast enough for her? How long does it take to get food here from, say Fresno, on a bad traffic day? (OK, OK, now I’m ranting.)

While she is eating her locally grown munchies, will she throw her imported dishes away, strip off her foreign clothes and shoes and refrain from brushing her hair or teeth with brushes from China? And will she eschew Chinese toothpaste? (Hmmm, I guess I would draw the line there, too. I’m not crazy, you know.)

It’s all about time, because we have only so many hours on this Earth. My grandparents were Texas farmers, growing their own food, churning their own butter and making some of their own clothes. But it was a hard life full of animals, low wells and other problems that most of us want no part of.

No, we want our goodies and the free time to enjoy them, and that’s what it all boils down to. Just as the industrial revolution reduced steel nails from valuable assets to be recycled by burning buildings down to throw-away items, the global economy has made nearly all things so affordable to us that we no longer have to work our fingers to the nub to survive, much less have a really good time for most of our lives. My grandparents and parents never had the time nor money for a B&B or Alaskan cruise, I guarantee you; these are my options.

While kicked back, the air conditioner humming, reading the latest copy of SN&R telling me how rough it is out there, I will eat my Chilean peaches with no guilt whatsoever.

By the way, if you don’t want, high-fructose corn syrup in everything, get the sugar lobby to do away with the tariffs that make its use almost universal.

Lee Whitehead

No meat in his argument

Re “It’s what’s for dinner” by Crawdad Nelson (SN&R Essay, August 16):

Mr. Nelson does nothing to further along the important dialogue regarding what we eat and how it impacts our health and our planet. He instead chooses to stereotype, fabricate lies, nitpick and overlook the very reasons why people refrain from livestock consumption. His essay further perverts the already misrepresented vegetarian.

Hypocritically, he demands vegans to “just shut up about it.” Take your own advice, Mr. Nelson. We too “don’t want to be snidely chided by those who think they have found the true path.”

In the future, I encourage Mr. Nelson to debate issues with actual facts, holding consideration for public and environmental health in mind.

Conor Dupre-Neary

Not in this house!

Re “It’s what’s for dinner” by Crawdad Nelson (SN&R Essay, August 16):

Not in my house, it ain’t.

This was a poorly written, self-contradictory essay. Worse yet, it wasn’t even funny, which I’d been led to expect by the ridiculous picture.

How can Nelson call the meat industry an “abomination” and admit that vegetarianism is “more than a fad,” then dismiss a vegetarian path as “nothing more than an affectation of the rich”? Especially considering that, around the world and particularly in developing nations, it is meat-eating that has long been associated with wealth and corruption.

Speaking of corruption, that is what meat—dead body parts—does inside your gut. I would call this essay “tripe,” the steaming, reeking entrails of the animals Nelson cruelly terrorizes, hunts down and murders for his carnal, carnivorous pleasure.

I would be far more interested to hear what animals have to say on this subject than the ramblings of some sad little person who had his feelings hurt by a cruel vegetarian. The animals Nelson murders are suffering far worse than he, so I’d advise him to quit his whining.

If a predatory animal were allowed to write an essay in defense of his or her slaughter of prey animals, it would be a lot shorter, as well as honest and true: “I need to kill other animals to survive.” Now that I can respect. But it’s simply false to say we humans “need” to eat meat and dairy—most of what is now the nation of India has been getting along quite well without meat and with few dairy products since ancient times.

Prey animals—if they could speak—would have just one word: “Help!” In the wild, they do get killed and eaten by predators who need their flesh to survive. That’s a much higher moral ground than what’s trod by some human essayist attempting to cover up his real motives for hunting and eating meat—he takes pleasure from it—with an irrational rant.

Such a piece of garbage reflects poorly on SN&R’s standards—if you still have any.

E. Whitesell

Some couples are better off apart

Re “I do?” by Sivan Kovnator (SN&R Bridal Guide, August 16):

Thank you for featuring my premarital counseling service in SN&R’s Bridal Guide. The article was well-done, as was the entire bridal section.

But there are two items which need clarification.

First, I have probably seen hundreds of couples, many of whom came in for premarital work, since I started seeing couples in my graduate training eight years ago. I have not, however, seen “nearly 100 couples for premarital counseling” since I started my practice. Would that I could, but my university work takes a lot of time, as well. This was apparently just a mismatch of information—I’ve been fully licensed for about a year and a half, but have been working with couples since 1999.

Second, the quote “There has never been a couple who split up during counseling” is out of context. I have never had a couple break up in the process of premarital counseling, which was the context of that part of the interview. Of course, when working with couples in other situations (that is, not specifically premarital counseling), I have had some couples who chose to split.

Therapy is not effective for every couple, and sometimes separation is the best choice for couples, particularly if there are issues of personal safety or domestic violence involved.

Thank you again for including me [in SN&R’s Bridal Guide]. I appreciate all of the stories you do that can’t be found anywhere else!

Ben Caldwell